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Iraq: 'Civilians are being bombed'

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Iraqi Health Minister Umid Midhat Mubarak accused coalition fighters of targeting Iraqi civilians.

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IRAQI HEALTH MINISTRY BRIEFING THURSDAY
Iraqi Health Minister Umid Midhat Mubarak

• More than 350 Iraqi civilians have been killed in warfare.

• Total Iraqi civilian casualties -- including dead and wounded -- come to about 4,000; Iraqi officials said they are trying to get more accurate figures.

• In Baghdad, there were 251 victims in Wednesday's attacks, including 36 fatalities.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- More than 350 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the war, according to Iraq's health minister.

While making the announcement Thursday, Iraqi Health Minister Umid Midhat Mubarak accused coalition fighters of targeting Iraqi civilians, saying "women and children are being attacked, as soldiers are being attacked."

"Most of these martyrs are children, women and old men who could not protect themselves as young men could," Mubarak told reporters at the Ministry of Information.

The Iraqi government has not released a definitive count of military deaths.

Mubarak also said Iraq is trying to get more accurate figures on the dead and the wounded. He said there have been about 4,000 civilian casualties -- including the dead and wounded.

At the United Nations on Wednesday, Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, told the Security Council "the Iraqi people are being subjected to a criminal and barbaric American-British military invasion" that has led to "thousands of casualties, among them women, children and the elderly."

From Baghdad, Iraqi officials said U.S. munitions killed 15 Iraqi civilians Wednesday at a popular market. (Full story)

Mubarak's numbers were higher Thursday. He cited 251 victims in Wednesday's attacks, including 36 "martyrs."

Coalition forces said they used precision-guided weapons Wednesday to attack nine missiles and launchers in a residential area of Baghdad.

U.S. military officials said they didn't know if any of those weapons went astray, causing civilian casualties in the marketplace as the Iraqis alleged.

Before the market blast, Iraq had reported 78 civilian deaths since Monday as a result of bombing raids. CNN could not independently verify Iraq's figures.

Mubarak accused coalition forces of targeting civilians with "smart bombs," or guided missiles, and using cluster bombs in narrow streets.

"Our civilians are being bombed regardless of their civilian status," Mubarak said. He pointed to pictures on a wall he said were of wounded Iraqis in a Basra hospital and sites that had been bombed.

"You see that these aggressors, the American and British and their allies, are targeting civilians regardless of age," Mubarak said.

Mubarak said that Iraqi medical facilities are well-equipped to treat the wounded and that spirits remain high among Iraqis.

"We still depend 100 percent on ourselves, and we try to use our resources .... in an efficient way," Mubarak said.

Despite the casualties, Mubarak said, "Things are going well. Our soldiers are fighting well."


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